MASERU — Local Government Minister Pontšo Sekatle has granted residential sites to nine government ministers, senior officials and judges at Arrival Centre and Maseru Central suburbs.
Beneficiaries of the sites include Sports Minister ’Mathabiso Lepono, whom Sekatle succeeded as president of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy women’s league in June.
Lepono has been granted site number 12283-101 at Arrival Centre.
Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s son, Rethabile Mosisili, who is also the deputy principal secretary for sports, has been allocated site number 12283-103 at Arrival Centre.
Home affairs assistant minister Lineo Molise-Mabusela has been allocated site number 12283-102 at Arrival Centre.
Sekatle has also allocated site number 12284-636 at Maseru Central to Justice Minister Mpeo Mahase-Moiloa while her immediate neighbour at site 12284-637 will be a former health principal secretary, Karabo Mohlakoana.
Education Minister ’Mamphono Khaketla has been granted site number 12284-634 besides one Thato Ramone who has been given site 12284-633 at Maseru Central.
Two High Court judges, Justice ’Maseshophe Hlajoane and Nthomeng Majara, have been granted sites numbers 12284-631 and 12284-635 at Maseru Central, respectively.
“It has been the wish of Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship to grant the following sites at Arrival Centre and Maseru Central to the following Honourable Ministers, Judges and Officers for residential purposes,” reads a government notice signed by commissioner of lands.
“Maseru Land Allocating committee at its seating verified the allocation as direct grant by Honourable Minister of Local Government,” the notice reads.
Sekatle told the Lesotho Times yesterday that she was within the confines of the law when she granted the sites late last year.
She said the grantees had applied for residential sites from the Maseru City Council (MCC) and the allocating committee, which was made up of councillors and representatives of the town clerk, resolved to allocate land that was open for
“They applied for residential sites and the MCC looked for available areas. These ministers, judges and principal secretaries were not even aware that they would be neighbours when they applied,” Sekatle said.
She said that she had earlier on instructed officers in her ministry to identify open areas that had not been allocated to anybody so that they could be surveyed and planned for development.
According to the law, she said, once such areas are discovered they are advertised and they can be allocated to anybody who applies for a site.
“Procedure was followed when the sites were allocated to them,” she said.
“No law was broken.”
The Lesotho Times was unable to verify claims by Sekatle that the sites had been advertised in local papers.
Sekatle said as minister she had powers to grant the sites especially as this would include applying for leases.
“This grant is an allocation at a higher level. This is what happens when a lease is prepared.”
The local government principal secretary, ’Mapitso Panyane, said the stands were allocated to the beneficiaries as a token of appreciation for the service they had rendered.
Panyane also said the beneficiaries were entitled to be allocated land like any Mosotho.
“After all, they are Basotho and are entitled to possess land,” Panyane said.